Source: Coyote concerns ‘There is a need to co-exist with wildlife,’ says geographer
April 12, 2016
BY MEAGHAN WHELAN
You are more likely to be struck by lightning seven times before being attacked by an animal predator.
With odds like that, why are people so worried about the presence of coyotes? Dr. Alistair Bath, Department of Geography, has studied coyote/human interactions, particularly in Cape Breton Highlands National Park and on the island portion of our province He will participate in an information session this week about coyotes in St. John’s.
Here, he speaks with Gazette contributor Meaghan Whelan about coyotes in the province.
MW: Are coyotes common in Newfoundland?
AB: Coyotes first appeared in this province on the West Coast in the mid-1980s, so they are still relatively new here. Right now there is limited data available on how many exist, although we do know they are now everywhere on the island. It’s not unusual to see coyotes in urban areas.
“If we learn from other jurisdictions across North America, we should learn to co-exist with wildlife, including coyotes.” — Dr. Alistair Bath
They are naturally expanding their range and are found throughout North America. In many cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver, there are coyote populations in the thousands. In places on the mainland where residents have built a tolerance and acceptance for wildlife, coyotes have been spotted in city parks and they’re not seen as a threat towards people.
MW: Should people be concerned about coyotes in their neighbourhood?
AB: Coyotes are wild animals. Not long ago there was a coyote spotted in St. John’s and schools were locked down. People are very much afraid of this new carnivore to the island, but the reality is that the risk to people is extremely low. There has only been one fatality in North America, in Nova Scotia in 2009. The media coverage and the fact that it happened so close to home likely contributes to the high fear levels in Atlantic Canada. You are more likely to be struck by lightning seven times than to be attacked by a predator—and that’s not just coyotes, that includes any predator: coyotes, wolves, bears, etc. Click HERE to read more